The Summer of ’85 Was The Best in Montana
I saw some posts from kids who were looking for summer jobs. Which made me think back to some that I had.
My first one was mowing a neighbor's lawn. You couldn't really call me a "lawn service" because I only had one client. And the guy that I mowed for had a gigantic yard. So, it took me three hours to mow it. But when I was done, he paid me five dollars. And I had recently discovered the game of golf. And golf clubs were five bucks apiece. So that was where my money went.
A buddy and I painted an old barn the summer that I was 15. And it took us almost all summer, it seemed like. It was pretty good sized. We had to add linseed oil to the paint. And we were teenage boys, so we didn't get out of bed until noon. Which meant that every day that we painted was hot.
But the best summer job was the one I landed in the summer of 1985. I drove a school bus that hauled wildland firefighters way back in the mountains. Even back then, anything to do with government-sponsored firefighting paid extremely well.
We were paid for sixteen hours of work each day. So by Wednesday, we'd be getting paid overtime. And the heads of fire camps didn't like to release the busses until they had to. So I made great money by playing a lot of Pinochle on the government.
But I will always remember driving a full-sized school bus on some pretty twisty mountain roads. And that paycheck. It was the first time that I'd ever been paid that kind of money in my life.